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Pursuit of Home Network Bliss

family, Home Networking, Technology - by - February 23, 2014 - 15:15 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

So Google fiber is here, you would think that would be enough.  But consider our crowdedhouse.  Our network not only serves our family (which admittedly is larger than average, ranging between 9 and 11 people depending on the day, your definition of family and my general attitude), but the network also serves our carriage house apartment, 3 guest rooms being used by long and short term guest and whoever is couch-surfing in the basement at the time.  Add up all these users and all their devices plus the odd server or six we tend to run, and we have 25-35 devices on the network at any one time.  Supporting this network has become quite the job.


Google Fiber at least means we now have enough bandwidth to support all these users and devices.  Even with Time Warner’s best cable internet service, we often had at best dial up speeds with so many users watching  videos, downloading, uploading, playing, surfing, etc. all at the same time.  With the fiber service we each end up with an above average share of internet speed, so that problem is solved.


next bottleneck we ran into was the number of wired network connections we had required a network switch… but our switch only supported 10/100, not the gigabit speeds our fiber supported.  so the 3 devices that were plugged directly into the back of the router had good speed, but the other devices were limited to a max combined of 100mb connection… which up to now seemed like plenty with only a 50m connection via cable, but after experiencing the 1Gb connection, yeah, it just wasn’t cutting it.  so in comes a new GB switch.


As more people connect and use a wireless network, they share the bandwidth of that network, so each persons connection gets slower and slower as the number of users rise.  This is our next bottleneck.  The hardwired computers feel good, but our video keeps buffering  due to the low bandwidth available for the wireless network access.

solution 1 was to update to a newer wireless access point.  Current technology allows almost wired speeds across wireless connections, IF YOUR DEVICES SUPPORT IT.  there is the rub – if your devices don’t support the higher bandwidths, EVERYTHING connected slows down to match the connection type of the slowest device….

solution 2, add additional wireless networks.  so this is the point we are at (and yes, it is killing me that the right shift key on this keyboard doesn’t work correctly, sorry for all the capitalization errors).  rather than just throwing a bunch of wireless access points out there, I decided it was time to plan the network a little better.

Home Network Plan

here is where I decided I needed to think a little more like a small business.  We have a lot of networking needs.  Here is my initial thoughts:

4 distinct network zones

– Carriage House – wireless access, direct internet access with no real security or filtering.

– Guest network – wireless access, similar to carriage house, but isolated from carriage house and family.  Printer access

– Servers – for the internet facing servers (minecraft, tor, vpn, mycloud, etc), wired access.

– Family network  – wireless and wired access, content filtered (hey, i have kids), high security

So now for the implementation… If I can, I will update with details as I try to make this happen.


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